From My Writing Playlist

Avantasia Runaway Train:

I’ve been dying to post another Avantasia song. I love this musical collaboration. Each CD is a story written by Edguy’s lead, Tobias Sammet… the Mozart of Modern Metal (Sorry, it’s true).

The song is a rollercoaster ride. sad and reflective to upbeat and fast back to reflective.

When to listen: This is a brainstorming song. Listen to it before writing when you’re trying to come up with plot of the story.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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From My Writing Playlist

I got a request to post some of my death, despair, and romance… not sure why those three subjects are grouped together. Dacia email me later if you need to talk. 🙂

Anyway, I do the best I can to keep my readers happy… so let’s see…

Today I’m going to work with Romance. This is off my gateway metal album:

 

Okay, more of a tragic romantic song, but one none the less. I usually listen to this one when it’s a romance that I know is going to end in death. I don’t know why. It’s a sweet song, but has a sad element to it.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

What is Metal?

Christ… I can’t believe I’m tackling this one. Metal is such a subjective term and it’s hard to specifically define it. There are also several sub genres of Metal… some more insane than others.

So let’s think about this for a moment… what is the makeup of a metal band? A self-proclaimed Metal Purist friend of mine says that the basic metal band is 2 guitarists, a singer, a bassist, and a set of drums.

Thus he considers bands like Five Finger Death Punch:

Or Killswitch Engage:

To be the quintessential makeup of Metal bands…

Bullshit. While they definitely fall under the metal category, I don’t believe that this is the basic standard for metal bands.

So what is?

Well it all started in the late 60s and 70s. Deep Purple is considered by many to be the first metal band with Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin following close behind. Those bands are/were made up the following way:

Led Zepplin:
Lead Guitar
Drums
Bass
Vocalist

Deep Purple:
Lead Guitar
Bass
Vocalist
Drummer
Keyboarder

Black Sabbath:
Guitar
Bass
Drums
Vocalist

Now are these bands considered Metal? Eh… by people who have been with the genre that long, perhaps. Honestly, given the sound of their early work, I think the term proto-metal is more appropriate.

Proto-Metal had a few more names join in the 1970s, including Iron Butterfly, Steppinwolf (Yeah you heard me right), Blue Cheer, and the Stooges. Notice why I’m careful to label these as proto-metal. Alice Cooper would also be added to this mix, however despite starting in 1963, he really didn’t become part of what’s known as metal for many years and did not gain significant enough attention until the 70s.

It was around this time in the 1970s that punk rock began to explode into popular culture and soon became a huge phenomenon. Motorhead was really the first band to bridge the gap and metal… essentially piggybacked off of Punk Rock’s popularity to pull it into the mainstream. This is when metal was truly born. Bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon became household names with other bands such as the scorpions quickly followed.

Suddenly, Metal was in the mainstream and a new genre known as ‘glam metal’ and ‘hair metal’ came to center stage. This is where bands like Quiet Riot, Motley Crew, Guns n Roses, W.A.S.P. and others joined the mix. Even Van Halen is considered by some to be part of this genre. This was also the era of the British Heavy Metal invasion with bands like Judas Priest entering the fray. Yeah the 80s were a good time to be alive if you were in to that kind of music… but all good things have to end…

The 90s…

Anyone who was caught growing up between the 80s and the 90s knows the massive paradigm shift in music styles. It was swift, vicious… and it was NOT pretty.

Ugh… turn it off… turn it off… I SAID TURN IT THE (CENSORED) OFF!!!

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Yeah thus begin the boy band wars of the 90s. It was a time when alternate and… arguably perverse styles of R&B, Dance, and techno got mixed together in what most people generally refer to as ‘Pop Music.’ It wasn’t a new phenomenon per se as it owed its roots to the 1970s, but it wasn’t anywhere near as huge or… intrusive at that point.

This is when metal went nuts. I mean went completely insane!

Suddenly Heavy Metal, Glam Metal, and Hair Metal broke up into SEVERAL subgenres…

Power Metal
Speed Metal
Pop Metal
Nu Metal
Rap Metal (Yes that’s a thing)
Avante Garde Metal
Black Metal
War Metal
Epic Metal
Victory Metal
Pirate Metal
Viking Metal
Rhythmic Metal
Symphonic Metal
Melodic Metal
Blackgaze
and perhaps the most recognizable version… at least to people outside of the genre, Death Metal:

So with all of these genres… what does this mean?

Well it means that while this is metal:

So is this…

This…

This…

This…

And yes, even this…

So what about this???

Um… I’ll leave that open to interpretation… Acapella Metal? Who knows…

But Jim, you still haven’t answered the big question, what is the basic metal band?

It’s a subjective term honestly. I do not share my friend’s view… why? Because that’s not the layout of the Heavy Metal bands, nor of the 80s bands and honestly the 70s and 80s are where metal really evolved into what we know and love. So with that in mind, the ideal metal band is as follows:

Standard:
Vocalist
Lead Guitar
Rhythem Guitar
Bass
Keyboard/Keytar
Drums

Minimum:
Vocalist
Guitar
Bass
Drums
Keyboard/Keytar.

So then Jim, what is metal? 

Honestly, it’s a convoluted mess!!! Just don’t let anyone tell you that only death metal is true metal and you’ll be fine.

So how do you identify a metal band then???

… … I dunno.

WHAT!?!?

I don’t know! Honestly, does it really matter? Listen to what you like. If you really need to know though, I’d consult the Encyclopedia Metallum. It’s  the best resource I know of…

Let me know what you think in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Another Song On My Writing Playlist.

Nothing about this isn’t absolutely epic. This was a video I discovered online long ago and was instantly hooked. I’ve since seen them live in concert and admit to being a huge fan. How do I describe their music? Slipknot if they hired Rihanna as their lead singer.

When to listen to this song? Climax buildup, or perhaps during the final battle!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

My Writing Playlist…

Van Canto – The Higher Flight

So it has occurred to me that I never actually posted my full playlist for writing. Well to be honest, it’s waaaaaay too long for that, but I’ll give everyone the highlights!

These are songs that I listen to as I strike the keys. Know that scene I did where Mary Kelly reveals who she is? That came from the music. The scene where Adalyn made the fateful choice to give up her wings forever? That was from a song too. Let’s go down the playlist. These are in no particular order BTW…


Rhapsody of Fire – Christopher Lee Magic of Wizard’s Dream Lyrics
This song is hauntingly beautiful. This is definitely for the classic High Fantasy writer more than anything, but anyone can get into it. It also helps that one of my all time heroes is a guest singer here!


Stratovarius – Destiny

This was my gateway to metal. This was the first song I listened to in the genre of Epic Metal… and oh my God, it still gets me every time.


Loreena McKennitt – The Mummers’ Dance
I know, I know, non-metal. It was bound to happen. This is definitely closer to folk, but this song and I have a sordid past… going back roughly 15 years. Yes, it took me that long to find it.


DragonForce – Operation Ground And Pound
Yes, I played Guitar Hero.


Dragonforce – Lost Souls in Endless Time
“Take you with me, we will fly across the sea, to the land of the sun, where our journey’s begun! All fear is gone, we sail until the dawn, deepest fears will burn inside your mind, FOR THE SOULS LOST IN ENDLESS TIME!!!”
… Do I really need to say anything else? God damn!


Iron Maiden – The Clansman
Going back a little ways… The opening to this song is one of the most tranquil guitar solos I’ve ever heard.


Within Temptation – Faster
You want power? You want energy? You want awesome singing and action? You got it. The true Mother of Dragons, Sharon Den Adel delivers!


Within Temptation – A Demon’s Fate
Rythmic Metal at its finest. I still say that ‘The Unforgiving’ is still one of the greatest albums out there to date!


Within Temptation – Mother Earth
Early WT, but a great fantasy-esque song!


Avantasia The Metal Opera
… pretty much anything labeled under Avantasia is pure gold. Its not a band, its a collection of singers from various metal bands; Alice Cooper, Within Temptation, Kamelot, Helloween, et al.


Nightwish – Dark Chest of Wonders
Admittedly, Nightwish has kind of fallen off in recent years. Their new lead singer is awesome… but the new songs… well… this band is slowly creeping away from metal and into the folk realm. Still, their classic stuff is still amazing!


Nightwish – Wishmaster
Like I said, classic stuff still works!


Van Canto – The Higher Flight
Some people don’t consider these guys metal. In their own way, they are. Get over it. This song has a lot of power behind it.


BATTLE BEAST – Enter The Metal World
Oh yeah, here we go! Modern Metal with a classic style!


Battle Beast-Far Far away
HEAVY METAL SINGER!!!!
Yeah, my favorite song by them!


Amaranthe – Invincible
Pretty much anything from these guys is like audio caffine, but this is the best of the best!


Amaranthe – Trinity
And the runner up!


THE AGONIST – Panophobia
Need a little anger in your writing? Here you go!


ARCH ENEMY – War Eternal
Same singer, different band, still awesome and angry!!!


KAMELOT – Sacrimony
Love these guys… sort of a male version of Evanescence. Also love the guest singers in this song. Recognize them?


 

So that’s my list… there’s roughly 120 other songs, but those are the musts! Hope you all enjoy!!

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

MORE Inspirational Music

Honestly, I keep finding more and more music to listen to. This next batch is from a band I recently came across in my search for writing music. That’s music which I listen to when I write. Not music I write…

Let’s just move on…

So today’s inspiration comes from a band that has been with us for some time (and somehow I just found out about…) Freedom Call.

I know many Metalheads consider these guys somewhat cheesy and granted, they do sounds like an 80s hair Metal band, but it’s still Epic music.

The first song, Warriors, has one of the liveliest chorus lines I’ve ever heard in my life:

The second song definitely sounds like what I was talking about. In fact every time I listen to it, my wife starts singing ‘The Final Countdown.’ *Rolls eyes*
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rGzYDDv44c

Finally we get to the song that first turned me on to these guys in the first place

I love this song, love the vocals, the piano… everything!!! Give them a listen, and enjoy being taken on an adventure!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Review of Inspiration

So… The Endless Forms Most Beautiful…

I usually don’t do reviews… unless something really annoys me and I need to vent, but this album left me a little vexed.

I love Nightwish. They’ve been around forever, they put on an AMAZING show, and they have a huge body of work that includes serious music as well as lighthearted stuff. ‘Dark Chest of Wonders’ is still one of my favorite songs.

As much as I hate to say this, but the band appeared to be in a state of decline. Parting ways with Tarja was a pretty bad hit, but then they went through a series of guest singers… including Elise Ryd, before settling on Annette Olzen. It was at this point that I simply couldn’t go see them live anymore. Annette was simply a poor choice as a replacement as she was barely able to sing many of Tarja’s songs. Now I know there is a huge debate on pretty much every Nightwish YouTube video on who was the better singer.

‘Anette is a pop princess who isn’t a good metal singer and she has a weak voice.’

‘Tarja was a mediocre opera singer who had run her course and was too difficult to deal with.’

Fine, whatever. I really don’t care about that debate. Regardless of which singer you think was better, I’d like to make two points;

  1. Anette can’t sing Tarja’s songs well. Not in the least:
  2. Dark Passion Play was a departure from their old style and really updated the band, bringing in a new audience and was an amazing album.

So regardless of whether you like either singer, it happened and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it.

Anyway… on point, when I found out that Nightwish was picking up Floor Jansen, I was excited. I followed her work with ReVamp and was a fan. Then Showtime Storytime came out…

Hearing her belt out that last line sent chills down my spine. I now listen to this version of DCOW over the Tarja version. Floor was a great direction for Nightwish. Her style brings back the Tarja crowd while still keeping the Anette fans happy. In essence, she’s a happy medium between the two styles.

So needless to say… I had great anticipation about Nightwish’s next album. The singles came out first. Elan was great and so was the title song. I couldn’t wait to get my hand on the album and listen to it all the way through.
I got that opportunity this morning after it arrived in the mail. I popped it in and the usual mystic-style intro came on. Then one by one I listened to the songs… and my reactions was… meh?

I won’t say that the other songs on the album were terrible, but they weren’t really anything impressive either. Nightwish Albums usually have two or three non-singles that are pretty good and that’s what I usually grab the album for. This… this album had NONE of that.

So is it a terrible album? Well… not really… I mean the two singles are good, the intro song is fine, the music well done and of course Floor Jansen is a lot of fun… but the songs themselves really didn’t jive with me. They’re the songs on an album you let play when you’re not really paying attention and don’t care.

Is it their worst album? NO! Imaginarium still holds that one… seriously, there’s barely a single song on that CD worth listening to. It’s the one Nightwish Album that I refuse to purchase.

So what went wrong? Well… you can attribute many things to this… for starters they recruited a flutist into their ranks who had played with them previously, but was never an official member, second they were just starting out with Floor, but I don’t find the latter to be an excuse. Bands change singers all the time and do just fine:
Dragonforce
Kamelot
Arch Enemy
etc.

Unfortunately, the blame must inevitably lie with Tuomos. What he was attempting to do was a pretty big departure from the style that made the band famous, and while they’ve altered their style slightly in the past, they’ve always kept it within the Realm of Symphonic Metal. This album strikes me far more as Folk Metal, which is really easy to screw up. Symphonic melodies and metal almost go hand in hand, but folk is an almost totally different form of music all together with different themes and different styles. In the end, the songs he composed. while ambitious, fell flat on his face.

So is the album worth a listen? Absolutely. Is it worth the $10 purchase price? Eh… not really, no.

Just remember, this is my personal opinion.  If you like the album, no problem. I can understand why someone would, but to me, it’s a rough draft on something great that Nightwish has in store for us. We’ll just have to wait a few years for their next album.


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim